Soofiya Chaudry and Louise Philo have won 2 of the 4 awards up for grabs at SheSays annual competition.
SheSays, itself an award-winning organisation and the only global creative network for women, highlights the gender divide by helping to address the disparity through positive change and recognising pioneering women. The awards ceremony was centred around the fact that only 3% of the creative industries CEOs are women, and how there should be more female role models within the creative industries.
Louise Philo who graduated in 2013, won an award for her major project, Monkeyton, a toy designed to help children learn sign language.
Louise said, “I actually heard about SheSays through Soofiya, who won the Student Award. She posted a link about the organisation on Twitter, and so I checked out what they were all about. While I was on the website, reading about all the free events and mentoring they do for creative women. I noticed that they had an awards ceremony coming up, so I filled in the form and the rest is history, so they say. I was presented The Isobar Award by Nick Bailey, the CEO of Isobar’.
Soofiya Chaudry, a Graphic graduate from 2013 won the Student Award. She entered the competition with her project A Book for Two. The book is one that can’t be read alone, everything from typography, format, layout etc is designed to be shared. “ The whole idea was based on a project which started out as an assignment for Ravensbsourne.
Ravensbourne’s invaluable help
Soofiya acknowledges that the help she received from her tutors and support staff at Ravensbourne helped shape this project. In particular, Maaike van Neck, Graphic Design Senior Lecturer was full of advice and guidance, and even gave up her free time after Soofiya had graduated. A publisher in America approached Soofiya and asked to stock the book, “I was pretty clueless on how to go about this so Maaike’s experience in self-publishing was invaluable,” she says.
She continues, “Equally the idea/project grew from the input of a series of tutors and sessional lecturers which were brought in on our course, an opportunity I doubt I would have had anywhere else.”
Useful support was also there from Jo Eaton, Industry Liaison- Design officer, who suggested Soofiya go to The British Library and have a chat with their business development advisers regarding copyrighting.
Louise was also very appreciative of Ravensbourne’s support, “Studying product design at Ravensbourne, opened my eyes to the world of human-centred design and how beneficial it can be to create products with the user as the key to the design. This is what I hope Monkeyton will be able to do for children with speech and language impairments in the future. Without Ravensbourne I may not of found the passion that I have to design human-centred products."
Keeping busy after graduation
Soofiya says, “I graduated and started freelancing, which has been tough but very rewarding. I have also started teaching on the Foundation Course graphics pathway at Ravensbourne, which has been a really great experience and something I plan on continuing in the future. I'm also running a couple of workshops for students on social media, coding and typography. On top of everything else, I'm starting my MA this September, everything's super busy but really exciting!"
Louise says, "Since graduating my life has been a bit crazy, it feels like it was years ago now. I've been working with a product designer that I'd originally worked for during my internship in second year. After that I have been focusing most of my time on Monkeyton. I've just secured a grant and incubation space to develop it so I'm coming back Ravensbourne to take the project further. The sky is the limit now and I can only thank all the people at SheSays, Ravensbourne, Isobar and everyone else who has supported, inspired and encouraged me to do the best that I can.”